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MilitaryMakers have taken on the responsibility of defending and providing security to our country through their military service. Examples of MilitaryMakers include Tuskegee Airmen, high-ranking armed services officials, and military technicians.

Admiral J. Paul Reason

Naval officer Admiral J. Paul Reason was born on March 22, 1941 in Washington, D.C. to Bernice Chism Reason and Dr. Joseph Henry Reason. Reason graduated from McKinley Technical High School in 1958 and attended several universities before transferring to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland where he graduated with his B.S. degree in naval science in 1965. Reason then entered the U.S. Navy’s nuclear power program and earned his M.S. degree in computer systems management in 1969.

In 1968, Reason was named lieutenant and served aboard the USS Truxtun’s first deployment to Southeast Asia. From 1970 to 1973, Reason was assigned to the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise as an electrical officer during deployments to Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean where he provided support for American and South Vietnamese troops. After attending the Naval Destroyer School in Newport, Rhode Island, Reason was promoted to lieutenant commander and returned to the USS Truxtun in 1974 as the ship’s combat systems officer. After a brief stint as a detailer for the Bureau of Naval Personnel in 1976, Reason was appointed to be the naval aide to President Jimmy Carter. He remained in this position until 1979 when he was promoted to commander and assigned to the USS Mississippi as the executive officer. In 1981, Reason was given his first command of the USS CoontzUSS Bainbridge in 1983. Reason was selected for promotion to rear admiral in 1986 and served as the commander of the Naval Base Seattle, Cruiser-Destroyer Group 1 and the Battle Group Romeo. In 1991, Reason was named vice admiral and given command of the Naval Surface Forces of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. After assignment as the Navy Operations Deputy, he became the first African American four-star admiral in the U.S. Navy and served as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, from 1996 to 1999.

Reason served as vice president for ship systems at SYNTEK Technologies, Inc. in Arlington, Virginia; as president, COO and vice chairman of Metro Machine Corp.; and as a member of the Secretary of the Navy’s Advisory Subcommittee on Naval History. He served on the boards of Amgen, Inc., Norfolk Southern Corporation, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Todd Shipyards Corporation.
Reason has received many awards and honors for his service in the U.S. military. He was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, two Legion of Merit awards, two Navy Commendation Medals and a National Defense Service Medal. Reason also received the Vietnam Service medal with seven campaign stars and a number of foreign decorations from the Republic of Vietnam and Venezuela.

Reason and his wife, Dianne Fowler Reason, have two children, Rebecca Reason Hammond and Lt. Joseph Paul Reason, Jr.

Admiral J. Paul Reason was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 21, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.132

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/21/2018

Last Name

Reason

Maker Category
Middle Name

Paul

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Joseph

Birth City, State, Country

Washington, D.C.

HM ID

REA02

Favorite Season

Fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

Key West, Florida

Favorite Quote

Sail Safely.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

3/22/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Naval officer Admiral J. Paul Reason (1941- ) served in the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Power Program and became the U.S. Navy’s first African American four-star general upon his promotion in 1996.

Favorite Color

Blue and Green

Annette Benging

Civilian administrator Annette Darlene Benging was born on August 3, 1963 in Oakdale, Louisiana to Joyce Grant Benging and C.J. Benging. Benging graduated from Sam Houston High School in San Antonio, Texas in 1981, and received her B.B.A. degree in Computer Information Systems in 1985 and her second B.B.A. degree in Management in 1986, both from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Benging earned her M.B.A. degree in Electronic Commerce, Business from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio in 2002.

Benging served as an Inventory Manager for the U.S. Department of Defense at Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio from 1988 to 1997. She then served as Director of San Antonio operations at Dynamics Research Corporation from 1997 to 2001, where she oversaw program management, strategic planning, business development/marketing, proposal development, customer relations, budget development, staffing and administration. Starting in 2002, Benging served in several roles with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Cryptologic and Cyber System Division (CCSD) at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. She first worked as a management/program analyst, where she established the contracting framework for CCSD development efforts undergoing equipment modernization, contractor support systems engineering with Command-Control-Communications-Computers Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR). From 2002 to 2008, she worked as a Supervisory Program Management Analyst, responsible for workload planning, security, and public affairs. In 2016, she was promoted to Supervisory, Product Support Manager (PSM) in the Cryptologic and cyber Systems Division, where she was in command of developing Agile Product Support for the Logistics personnel.

Benging’s San Antonio-based service affiliations includes Leadership San Antonio and Leadership Texas. She serves on the Advisory Board of Women’s Educational and Healing Retreats (WEHR), and was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success in 2016. She also serves as the Second Vice President of Region VI for the Blacks in Government organization, strategic advisor of the Black Women’s Leadership Alliance, and on the Board of Directors of New Creation Christian Fellowship.

Annette Benging was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 7, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.118

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/7/2018

Last Name

Benging

Maker Category
Schools

Texas State University

First Name

Annette

HM ID

BEN09

Favorite Season

Spring and Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

Israel

Favorite Quote

I will bless the lord at all times and his praise will always be in my mouth.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

8/3/1963

Speakers Bureau Region City

San Antonio

Favorite Food

Spaghetti

Short Description

Civilian Administrator Annette Benging (1963 - )

Employment

DOD - USAF

Favorite Color

Blue

Col. Lawrence Washington

Military officer Col. Lawrence Washington was born on October 20, 1935 in Washington, D.C. to Charlotte and Isaac Washington. He attended Union Academy and graduated from Pine Forge Academy. Washington received his B.S. degree in nursing in 1968 from the University of Maryland. He went on to receive his M.S. degree in nursing in 1972 from The Catholic University, in Washington, D.C.

Washington served as an enlisted medical aidman with the rank of private at Walter Reed General Hospital, from 1954 to 1956. He was sworn in as 2nd lieutenant reserve officer, Army Nurse Corp at Fort Meade in 1962, and then worked in psychiatric mental health nursing from 1966 to 1967, In June 1967, he was sworn into the Regular Army becoming the first male nurse, black or white, commissioned in the Regular Army. Washington also served as a consultant clinical nurse specialist psych/mental health at Howard University Hospital Nursing Department in 1972, and assistant professor of the University of Maryland, Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing from 1972 to 1977. Washington was the first African American male nurse to receive his military science certification in 1978 from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and worked as health services command nursing methods analyst on the Manpower Survey Team at Fort Sam Houston. Washington served as chief of the Department of Nursing, U.S. Army Medical Activity, in Berlin, Germany from 1981 to 1983. He was the first African American male Army Nurse Corps officer to be promoted to the rank of colonel at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, in El Paso, Texas and was named assistant chief of the Department of Nursing at Beaumont from 1983 to 1987. He also served as relief supervisor and nursing services consultant, at R.E. Thomason General Hospital in El Paso. Washington retired from military service in 1987.

Washington has served as a clinical instructor and skills supervisor in psychiatric nursing for the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Nursing; an assistant professor and adjunct faculty member for clinical pediatric nursing at Columbia Union College; an assistant professor at Howard University College of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Allied Health Sciences. He served as a commonwealth assistant professor at George Mason University College of Nursing and Health Science where he became the program coordinator of the Saudi-U.S. University Project. He also provided clinical supervision in health assessment, community-based health promotion, disease prevention, and was a member of the University’s Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations committee. He served as an assistant professor at Louisiana State University; instructor at University Of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College.

Washington’s awards and recognitions include: the United States Legion of Merit, Three Meritorious Service Medals, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Order of Military Medical Merit, and an Expert Field Medical Badge, and letters of appreciation.

Col. Lawrence Washington was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 7, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.109

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/7/2018

Last Name

Washington

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Lawrence

Birth City, State, Country

Washington, D.C.

HM ID

WAS08

Favorite Season

Fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

Silver Spring, Maryland

Favorite Quote

Wisdom Is A Principal Thing; Therefore, Get Wisdom But With All Thy Getting Get Understanding; Structure Is The Basis Of Function; A Thing Is Made A Certain Way To Operate A Certain Way; No Act Without A Fact

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/20/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

San Antonio

Favorite Food

Healthy Foods

Short Description

Military officer Col. Lawrence Washington (1935- ) served as chief of the Department of Nursing U.S. Army Medical Activity, in Berlin, Germany from 1981 to 1983. Promoted to Colonel at William Beaumount Army Medical Center, in El Paso, Texas in 1983, he was named assistant chief, Department of Nursing from 1983 to 1987.

Favorite Color

Indigo

David Richards

Military officer David Richards was born on March 19, 1929 in Sedalia, Missouri to Christina Diggs Richards and David Richards. He attended Lincoln School and C.C. Hubbard High School in Sedalia. Richards then studied at the College of Mortuary Science in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating in 1951. Years later, Richards received his B.A. degree in business administration from Park College in Parkville, Missouri in 1975. Three years later, he earned his M.A. degree in human resources from Pepperdine University.

Upon graduating from high school, Richards joined the United States Army in 1946. He was stationed at Camp Stoneman in California, and deployed overseas to the Pacific Theater. Richards became a member of the U.S. Army band, and rose to head of the reed section. After completing U.S. Army service in 1948, Richards worked briefly as an apprentice mortician, and returned to the Army in 1954. He completed airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia and attended rigger school at Fort Lee, Virginia. He served ten years in the 612th Quartermaster Aerial Supply Company, and then transferred to the Artic Test Center in Fort Greenly, Alaska, where he tested airdrop equipment. Then, Richards was sent to the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts, where he helped develop expendable parachutes for the Vietnam War. In 1968, Richards became the Army’s first African American warrant officer, and remained the sole African American in that rank until his retirement in 1983. After his Army career, Richards worked at the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department in staffing, and later as a crime prevention analyst. He continued teaching as an adjunct professor at Saint Leo University until 2000.

As the first African American warrant officer, Richards was inducted into the Parachute Rigger Warrant Officer’s Hall of Fame upon his retirement in 1983. Richards was also inducted into the Distinguished Order of Saint Martin within the Quartermaster Corps in the United States Army. He was a three time recipient of the Omega Man of the Year Award and the Superior Service Award. Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, Inc. also honored Richards with the Salute to Veterans Award.

Richards was a member of St. Philip A.M.E. Church in Savannah, Georgia. He also served as an advisor to the director of the West Board Street YMCA, as president for the Mental Health Association of the Coastal Empire, as vice chair of human services for Chatham County and as chairperson of the superintendent advisory council for the Chatham County Board of Education. Richards was a board member for the Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club, JHS of Savannah, the Meditation Center Board, the Martin Luther King Day Observance Committee and the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum.

Richards and his wife, Swannie Moore Richards have three children: David Richards III, Yvette Richards, and Bonnye Richards Anthony.

Richards passed away on February 5, 2019.

David Richards was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 9, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.044

Sex

Male

Interview Date

02/10/2017

Last Name

Richards

Maker Category
Schools

Pepperdine University

Park University

C.C. Hubbard High School

Lincoln School

First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Sedalia

HM ID

RIC20

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Success Awaits At Labor's Gates.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

3/19/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Savannah

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

2/5/2019

Short Description

Military officer David Richards, Jr. (1929 - 2019) conducted over 11,000 parachute operations on behalf of the U.S. Army, and was inducted into the Parachute Rigger Warrant Officer’s Hall of Fame.

Employment

US Army

Saint Leo University

Savannah Tribune

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department

Favorite Color

Purple

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Richards' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Richards lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Richards describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Richards describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Richards talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Richards describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Richards remembers his community in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Richards describes his parents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David Richards remembers the Lincoln School in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - David Richards remembers the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - David Richards recalls his childhood activities

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - David Richards remembers the faculty of the Lincoln School in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Richards remembers his activities at C.C. Hubbard High School in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Richards recalls the Taylor Chapel Methodist Church in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Richards remembers his prom

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Richards describes his family vacations

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Richards remembers the businesses in Sedalia, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Richards recalls joining the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Richards recalls the aftermath of World War II in the western Pacific

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David Richards remembers joining a U.S. Army band, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David Richards remembers joining a U.S. Army band, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - David Richards talks about his military promotions

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Richards recalls his training as a mortician

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Richards remembers his decision to return to the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Richards remembers his paratrooper training

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Richards recalls attending parachute rigger school

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Richards remembers conducting parachute field tests

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Richards describes his work at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Richards remembers being denied a promotion

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Richards remembers his promotion to warrant officer

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Richards describes his duties as a warrant officer

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Richards remembers meeting his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Richards talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Richards remembers his retirement from the U.S. military

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David Richards recalls his career at the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David Richards describes his college education

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - David Richards remembers his career as a professor

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - David Richards describes his organizational activities, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Richards describes his organizational activities, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Richards shares a message to future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David Richards reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David Richards describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David Richards recalls serving as parade marshal for the Veteran's Council

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David Richards remembers his students

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David Richards narrates his photographs

Oscar Lawton Wilkerson, Jr.

Tuskegee Airman and radio programming executive Oscar Lawton Wilkerson Jr. was born on February 9, 1926 in Chicago Heights, Illinois to Oscar L. and Elizabeth Wilkerson. After his graduation from Bloomfield Township High School in 1944, Wilkerson entered the U.S. Army Air Force’s Aviation Cadet training program in Tuskegee, Alabama. He was assigned to the 617th Bombardment Squadron, where he was trained to fly the B-25 “Billy Mitchell” bomber.

Wilkerson received his commission as a 2nd lieutenant and his “wings” as a B-25 pilot in 1946. In 1947, he graduated from the New York Institute of Photography. Wilkerson also graduated from the Midwest Broadcasting School in 1960. Wilkerson became a weekend disc jockey and community relations director at WBEE-AM in Harvey, Illinois in 1962. As an on-air personality, he was known as “Weekend Wilkie.” As community relations director, he launched a weekly radio show hosted by Chicago Alderman Charles Chew, as well as publicity campaigns for the NAACP, the Chicago Urban League, the Committee of 100 and other organizations. Wilkerson was promoted to the position of program director at WBEE in 1965. Under Wilkerson’s supervision, WBEE launched the radio career of Merri Dee, who became known as “Merri Dee, the Honey Bee.” In 1969, he oversaw the station’s switch to a more jazz-oriented format, and took on the additional responsibilities of operations manager. Wilkerson also hosted his own program, Wilk’s World, on weekday mornings. Wilkerson left WBEE in 1971 to become the public affairs director at WMAQ Radio. In that role, he was responsible for all public service material aired on the station. Wilkerson was named program director at WMAQ in 1973, and served there until his retirement in 1988. Following his retirement, Wilkerson served as president of the Multi Media Ministry at New Faith Baptist Church in Matteson, Illinois. He is one of the “Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen” (DOTAs), and is active in the Chicago “Dodo” chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. Wilkerson regularly visits schools around the United States to tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen. He lives in Markham, Illinois.

Oscar Lawton Wilkerson Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 22, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.202

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/22/2013

Last Name

Wilkerson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Lawton

Schools

Tuskegee University

Midwest Broadcasting School

Bloom High School

New York Institute of Photography

Washington Junior High School

Lincoln Elementry School

Dr. Charles Gavin School

First Name

Oscar

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago Heights

HM ID

WIL66

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

2/9/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Tuskegee airman and radio program director Oscar Lawton Wilkerson, Jr. (1926 - ) received his commission as 2nd lieutenant with the 617th Bombardment Squadron in 1946. After his service with the U.S. Army Air Force, he had a long career in radio as a programming executive.

Employment

WMAQ Radio

WBEE Radio

South Suburban Bus Lines

Golden State Mutual Insurance Company

Hammond & Powell Funeral Home

United States Army Air Force

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:46294,555:70240,867:102181,1249:109640,1357:122100,1525:137480,1741:142998,1970:167775,2447:200545,2871:213769,3062:214164,3102:257440,3708$0,0:6624,143:6912,148:11088,239:50514,761:56969,878:73888,1141:74364,1149:80348,1258:80756,1264:122080,1891:183510,2851
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Oscar Wilkerson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Oscar Wilkerson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Oscar Wilkerson describes his mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about his parents' occupations and their move to Chicago

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Oscar Wilkerson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Oscar Wilkerson mentions his older brother and describes the neighborhood he grew up in

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Oscar Wilkerson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Oscar Wilkerson discusses his elementary school experience

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Oscar Wilkerson discusses his junior high school and high school experience

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about his interest in aviation and in joining the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Oscar Wilkerson remembers his basic training experience in Biloxi, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about attending church as a child as well as his father's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Oscar Wilkerson discusses his mother's personality and his interest in photography

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Oscar Wilkerson describes how his family celebrated the holidays

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about going on family vacations

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about his older brother

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Oscar Wilkerson discusses his basic training in Biloxi, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about his primary training in Tuskegee, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about his primary training in Tuskegee, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Oscar Wilkerson describes his first flight experience

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about his first solo flight

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Oscar Wilkerson describes his experience as a cadet at the Tuskegee Army Air Force Base, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Oscar Wilkerson describes his experience as a cadet at the Tuskegee Army Air Force Base, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Oscar Wilkerson describes Tuskegee's civilian environment

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Oscar Wilkerson discusses the first phase of his advanced training at Tuskegee Army Airfield

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Oscar Wilkerson discusses the additional phases of his training at Tuskegee Army Airfield

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about leaving military service

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about his various civilian jobs and becoming a radio broadcaster

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about Tuskegee Airmen

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Oscar Wilkerson recalls his flight training and the flying accidents that occurred

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Oscar Wilkerson describes those officers in charge during his flight training and his various jobs after leaving the military

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about going into radio broadcasting and his interest in music

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about the first radio station he worked for

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about his colleagues and responsibilities at WBEE Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about the entertainers and radio personalities he knew at WBEE Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Oscar Wilkerson discusses competing radio station, WVON

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Oscar Wilkerson discusses going to work for WMAQ Radio

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about former State Senator, Charles Chew, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about his colleagues at the radio station, WBEE

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about becoming Manager of Community Affairs at WMAQ

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Oscar Wilkerson describes his experience as Manager of Community Affairs at WMAQ

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about other blacks in Chicago broadcasting

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Oscar Wilkerson compares his jobs at radio stations, WMAQ and WBEE

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about WMAQ Radio's shift into country music

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Oscar Wilkerson describes WMAQ under Charlie Warner's leadership

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Oscar Wilkerson explains what radio taught him and why he was successful

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about the community leaders he met during his radio career and his work with NBACA

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Oscar Wilkerson discusses positive highlights from his career in radio

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about his participation in local organizations and his retirement

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about pilot, Jim Tillman and the differences between Chicago Heights and Chicago in Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Oscar Wilkerson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Oscar Wilkerson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Oscar Wilkerson describes his military emblems

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Oscar Wilkerson describes what it feels like to fly a plane

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Oscar Wilkerson talks about performing a prohibited plane maneuver in his hometown of Chicago Heights

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

2$4

DATitle
Oscar Wilkerson recalls his flight training and the flying accidents that occurred
Oscar Wilkerson describes his experience as Manager of Community Affairs at WMAQ
Transcript
Now you said 9,000 were trained to fly?$$Nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety two.$$Were flo--were trained to fly.$$Yeah.$$Okay. And so how many people were on the ground then?$$Ten times that, plus.$$Ten, okay. So you're saying the whole, whole contention of, of Tuskegee Airmen is about--that would be almost 50,000.$$Yeah, whatever the math comes to be, yes.$$Okay.$$This, this is support people that keep that plane in the air.$$And for each--so what, what did it take one to fly and how often were you flying when you were flying? Even the, the practice drills. How--what, what was that regiment like?$$Flew virtually every day. And when you're early in training, your instructor every day. Then you'd go out after you've soloed and you'd fly and practice those things that you were taught by the instructor. So you flew every day. And for most of the time you also had ground school courses to take every day. Learning flight, learning about the aircraft you were flying, and the many facets of keeping you in the air so that emergencies come along, you'll be able to take care of 'em and all of that is bound together to make one pilot.$$And so during the time that--were there any accidents that happened?$$Yeah.$$Okay and do you remember like the worse accident that happened?$$I remember there were in--not in my advanced class, but in some advanced class the cadets were flying T6's, the aircraft that I mentioned that was the first one with the retractable gear. Flying formation and somebody got too close and they clipped wings. The--one of the pilots was able to get out and ejected and I don't, I don't mean eject like in the jet when you pull a handle and you get shot out. You had to put the canopy back, get your harness off and get out of the plane. He didn't manage to do so and he went down with the aircraft. I don't recall who that was or what class it was, but that did happen, may have happened more than once. I, I know about that one. There have been other lesser accidents and people weren't killed. I was involved in one myself, but obviously I was not killed.$$You mean when you say you were involved in one, you were involved an accident and you came, and you came down with the plane.$$We were flying in advanced training and I was, we were doing night landings. Part of the training involved flying at night and they put you in the air and they would give you a segment to fly in until it was your time to come back to the field and land. So you'd circle in that quadrant and they would call you in to land. Well there was somebody--when they finally called me in to land, there was somebody ahead of me as there always is. You land and you do what they call touch and goes. You make a--what would be a perfect landing except you don't stop. You just pull the coat on and you take off and you go around again in order to save time; you're not taxiing on the ground. The guy ahead of me landed and was supposed to have taken off to go ahead and he didn't. And then the--I believe the tower told him to clear the runway, but he also didn't do that. And in the meantime they had cleared me to land and I didn't know that he was still on the runway. And when I landed, I see this guy ahead of me and I attempted to pull up to get a--away from hitting him. My landing gear clipped his--part of his canopy and both planes went over upside down. But I--both of us survived that. He got a big bump on his head and they had to shave part of his hair off, which was his major injury. And nothing happened to me. That was the crash I was involved in. But I'm sure there were others. I was about to say many, but probably not many; there were others.$What was your, what were--what did they say they wanted you to do and what did they want you to accomplish?$$Well I was responsible for making sure that we met all the federal requirements for a broadcasting station to stay on. You don't just come on the air and stay on the air cause you want to, you got to fulfill certain obligations so far as responding to community needs, determining what they are, programming toward response to those needs, and prove that you did. And the percentage has to be whatever is required at the time, eighteen percent or whatever it was, of programming that responded to those needs. And my responsibility was to make sure we're doing that; keep record of it so that when it came time to apply for license, you could prove that in paper and you did so, in sheaves of paper. That was my primary responsibility at that point.$$Well that's a good job for a black person to have at network station.$$Yeah, it was a good job.$$I mean, I mean a, a very good job. And so the question I have: Were they under any heat at that point that they hired you? Was [W]MAQ--were there any challenges about not doing certain things for the community or not?$$Not--I don't think so, no.$$Okay, so what you then do with the--with your, your, your job then? What are, what are the programs you put on, and--$$Well we did a number of discussion types of programs, specific ones I can't remember. And we were involved in the various community activities. I was like the face for the station at various banquets and stuff. I ate royally and attended a lot of things I would not have gotten a chance to see on my own. Went a lot of places that I would not have been able to go to on my own because I was in D.C. [District of Columbia].$$What were some of those places?$$Oh well New York City, the home headquarters, went there a number of times and we were located and still are as far as I know, located in the Rockefeller Center Building there. Had lunch in the Rainbow Room like the big dogs did and things such as that. I became the Treasurer for the National Association of Broadcast--$$National Association of Broadcasters?$$No, no, no.$$NABJ [National Association of Black Journalists]?$$NABA [North American Broadcasters Association] I think it was. Anyway the org--national organization of those who were in my kind of job and across the nation. And we had a couple of--$$You became what?$$The Treasurer.$$You were the Treasurer.$$Yeah, and NBACA [National Broadcast Association for Community Affairs] maybe, National Broadcast Association of--I've forgotten the rest of that title, but it was people who were in, in public affairs at stations across the nation. And we had several meetings in, in Vail, Colorado and that was nice. And all kinds of stuff like that, that I would not have been able to do on my own.

Capt. C.A. "Pete" Tzomes

Navy Captain (Retired) C. A. “Pete” Tzomes was born on December 30, 1944 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He was the oldest of two children parented by James C. Tzomes and Charlotte Eudora (Hill) Tzomes, who instilled in him the value of hard work and discipline at an early age. Tzomes decided to pursue a career in the U.S. Navy during junior high school following a recruiting visit by a Naval Academy midshipman. Later, in 1963, Tzomes was admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy after briefly attending the State University of New York at Oneonta. He graduated in 1967 and was commissioned as an Ensign.

Upon graduation, Tzomes completed submarine nuclear power training which was followed by submarine training. He was then assigned to the ballistic missile submarine USS WILL ROGERS in 1969 and served in various division officer billets before being transferred to the fast attack submarine USS PINTADO. After completing Engineer Officer qualification in 1973, Tzomes was assigned as engineer officer on board USS DRUM; and, from 1979 to 1982, served as Executive Officer on board USS CAVALLA. In 1983, Tzomes became the first African American to command a U.S. submarine when he was assigned as the Commanding Officer of USS HOUSTON (SSN 713). At the conclusion of his command tour in 1986, he was assigned as the Force Operations Officer on the staff of Commander Submarine Forces U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and oversaw the operations of all submarines in the Pacific theater. In 1988, Tzomes was appointed as the Director of the Equal Opportunity Division in the Bureau of Naval Personnel and as the advisor to the Chief of Naval Personnel on equal opportunity issues; and, in 1990, he became Commanding Officer of Recruit Training Command Great Lakes (boot camp). Tzomes then served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and Inspector General before he retired from the Navy in 1994.

Tzomes was an active member of the National Naval Officers Association, including two years as a regional Vice President, while on active duty. This is a professional organization that targets professionalism and development of sea service minority officers (Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard). After Navy retirement, Tzomes worked as a utility manager at Exelon Corporation until July 2012. He held various leadership positions while primarily assigned to the Quad Cities Generating Station located in western Illinois. He continued to keep abreast of Navy issues through his affiliation with the Naval Submarine League, the U.S. Naval Institute, the United States Submarine Veterans and the Navy League. His military honors and decorations include the Legion of Merit (with Two Gold Stars), the Meritorious Service Medal (with Three Gold Stars), and the Navy Commendation Medal (with Two Gold Stars) as well as various unit and campaign ribbons.

Tzomes married the former Carolyn Eason in July, 2007. Offspring from a previous marriage include a son, Chancellor A. Tzomes II, and a granddaughter, Mariana Tzomes.

Navy Captain (Retired) C.A. “Pete” Tzomes The HistoryMakers August 21, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.233

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/21/2013

Last Name

Tzomes

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

United States Naval Academy

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

C.A.

Birth City, State, Country

Williamsport

HM ID

TZO01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth and teens

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Expect what you inspect.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/30/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Moline

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Captain and U.S. navy (retired) Capt. C.A. "Pete" Tzomes (1944 - ) became the first African American to command a U.S. submarine in 1983 when he was assigned as the Commanding Officer of USS HOUSTON (SSN 713).

Employment

Exelon Corporation

Bank One, Cleveland

United States Navy

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of C.A. Tzomes' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his mother's personality and her emphasis on education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his father's personality and his employment

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his adoption, and finding out that his adoptive father was his biological father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his parents getting married, and his biological mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - C.A. Tzomes describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - C.A. Tzomes describes his childhood memories of growing up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and talks about his brother, Pierre

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - C.A. Tzomes describes the geographical location of Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - C.A. Tzomes discusses how his parents settled down in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes talks about the black population in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, while he was growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes describes the segregated community in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes describes the neighborhood and community within which he grew up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes describes Christmas with his family

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes talks about Ebenezer Baptist Church in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his experience in elementary school in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his interest in sports in school and his academic performance

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - C.A. Tzomes explains his career aspirations as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his brother, Pierre Tzomes

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - C.A. Tzomes talks about the undercurrents of discrimination and racism in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes discusses the racial climate in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and talks about his first direct experience with racism in the South

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes talks about being biracial, and his observations of social perceptions of skin color

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes talks about desegregated public services in Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes discusses his desire to the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes discusses his graduating class and the few role models in the community who emphasized a college education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes talks about the importance of getting good grades

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his plans to attend college and his father's alcoholism

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - C.A. Tzomes describes his application to the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - C.A. Tzomes talks about attending the State University of New York at Oneonta, and his acceptance to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1963

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his first summer and plebe year at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1963

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon the sociopolitical events of the early 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes describes his experience during Plebe Summer at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his classmate, Calvin Huey, the first African American to play varsity football for the U.S. Navy

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes describes his experience during Plebe Year at the U.S. Naval Academy, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes describes his experience during Plebe Year at the U.S. Naval Academy, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes describes the racial climate during his time at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes describes the racial climate in Annapolis, Maryland, during his time at the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - C.A. Tzomes describes his social experience in the black community in Annapolis, Maryland while at the U.S. Naval Academy, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - C.A. Tzomes describes his social experience in the black community in Annapolis, Maryland while at the U.S. Naval Academy, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his aspirations of joining the U.S. Marine Corps, and instead applying for the U.S. Navy's Nuclear Power Program

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon the Vietnam War and his experience with racism while in the U.S. Naval Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes describes racial challenges that he faced in Norfolk, Virginia in 1964, and at the U.S. Navy submarine squadron in Key West

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes talks about training for the Nuclear Power Program and his interest in submarines

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his interview with Admiral Hyman G. Rickover for the Nuclear Power Program

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes describes his experience with racism in the Submarine Nuclear Power Program, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes describes his experience with racism in the Submarine Nuclear Power Program, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes describes his experience as an Engineer Officer on the USS Drum, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes describes his experience as Engineer Officer on the USS Drum, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes talks about submarine officer ranks and recalls his colleague, Willie Wells, aboard the USS Will Rogers

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his assignment on the Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board and as the executive officer on USS Cavalla

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes talks about how he dealt with racial insubordination while on assignments in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his relationship with white and black officers and crew members on the USS Will Rogers and the USS Pintado

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes discusses Admiral Elmo Zumwalt's efforts to address racial tensions in the U.S. Navy, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes discusses Admiral Elmo Zumwalt's efforts to address racial tensions in the U.S. Navy, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon the results of Admiral Elmo Zumwalt's efforts to address racial tensions in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - C.A. Tzomes discusses his selection as the commanding officer of the USS Houston in 1983, and describes the command screening process

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes talks about becoming the commanding officer of the USS Houston, and the U.S. Navy's Centennial Seven

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes talks about serving as a mentor in the National Naval Officers Association

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his experience as the commanding officer of the USS Houston, and the positive feedback from his mentees

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon his first marriage

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes talks his assignment as the Force Operations Officer for the staff of the Commander for Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon the advancement of African Americans in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes discusses his service on issues of equal opportunity and racial bias in the U.S. Navy, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - C.A. Tzomes discusses his service on issues of equal opportunity and racial bias in the U.S. Navy, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes describes his assignment as the commanding officer of the U.S. Navy's Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes Naval Base

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - C.A. Tzomes talks about meeting his second wife, Carolyn Eason

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - C.A. Tzomes talks about retiring from the U.S. Navy in 1994, and the Navy's Centennial Seven

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon the fall in the number of black submarine commanding officers since 2009

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - C.A. Tzomes talks about his father's death, his funeral, and the changes in his hometown of Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon his life and career

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - C.A. Tzomes describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - C.A. Tzomes reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - C.A. Tzomes describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

8$7

DATitle
C.A. Tzomes describes his social experience in the black community in Annapolis, Maryland while at the U.S. Naval Academy, pt. 1
C.A. Tzomes describes his experience as an Engineer Officer on the USS Drum, pt. 1
Transcript
So, here you are--$$But that's the town [Annapolis, Maryland]. I still got more to talk about the town. So, the black community--remember, Annapolis is the south--racially segregated, signs and everything, okay. So, the local community embraced the black midshipmen, totally embraced us. We had one woman while I was there, and we ended up having other women. Her name was Lillie Mae Chase. They now have a street named after her in Annapolis. And she was our mother away from home, okay. We were having times, hard times, racially. Now Plebe Year, I didn't get, I could not go out. I could not go out in the streets until starting my sophomore year, okay, except for special occasions, okay. And so, Lillie Mae adopted us. And about the time there was about--well, the whole time I was there, she probably adopted about twelve or thirteen of us. And we cried on her shoulders--anything--any problems we were having, any issues. And she did so much for helping us get through, especially when things were racially trying in Annapolis at the [U.S. Naval] Academy. And the rest of the older black community was sort of like her. So, they had the area, like I told you--not my freshman year, but like I told you about Annapolis and the black theater--I used to refer to it as the black belt, okay. That's, you know, no whites are going to go in the black belt. It's an area where, it's where a large black community exists, including a social club. And I used to, I used to go to this social club. I would take my uniform, and I would change clothes in the bathroom at the social club. And then I would go hang out there on weekends whenever I was allowed to go out in town. And then they would look out for me. For example, if they saw a police or something coming down the street they'd tell me, and I would go hide in the bathroom until the police would come in and go out, say. And then I joined a black church. We had what's called church parties. You could worship at the Academy, or you could go on church parties. The churches were the Baptist church, because I told you I grew up in a Baptist church--was a Southern Baptist. And Southern Baptists had racial issues with them. So, I went to the Academy and I said, "I am not a Southern Baptist. I'm a Baptist. I want to worship where I belong for my religion." And they let me, there was a senior at the time who was going to a Baptist church out in town. So, I went to his church. It was called--I can't remember the name of the church. I want to say Second Baptist, but I can't remember. So, we used to walk--on Sundays we had a two-person church party. Then I, for two years, it was me by myself. And then I'll never forget. My senior year, there was a plebe that I sort of introduced to the church. And we all have--each company has a company officer who was responsible for everything dealing with the companies--typically, a Navy lieutenant or a Marine Corps captain. And so, myself and Tucker were going to church one Sunday. And on Monday my company officer called me in the office and said he got a phone call from one of his contemporaries who said he saw me and Tucker straggling in the streets of Annapolis, and what were we doing, doing that? And he told me, he says, "But I stuck up for you. I told them that was you marching Midshipman Tucker to church." (laughter). So, when you talk about the racial issues, okay--although they had--the Academy--and I told you earlier about the rules at the Academy. So, all I had to do was go and say, "I'm not a Southern Baptist. I want to go to my church." And they said okay.$I had one commanding officer who tried to protect me. And I need to lead to a certain story about--. Because what got me on this, you were talking about my first wife. So, this is my--the submarine that I was assigned to be the engineer to--there's a separate qualification to get your engineer's certification, and then the assignment is nuclear. Not every nuclear trained officer is allowed to be an engineer. And there's another academic thing you got to go through. So, I'm on my, my submarine is the [USS] Pintado that I'm on. And I get certified to be an engineer. So I'm getting transferred to the Drum, to be the engineer officer on the Drum, the USS Drum. And my commanding officer calls the detailer. The detailer is the person in Washington [District of Columbia] that determines where you go and when. They're called detailers. And he says, "I think we're setting Tzomes up to fail." And that's because he was very familiar with the commanding officer of the Drum, who came from a very segregated, racist, deep rooted southern background, both him and his wife, okay. And he says, "With Tzomes being the first, you do not want to send him there under that guy." The detailer didn't listen to my captain. He says, "Does Tzomes qualify for the job?" "Yes." "Do you recommend him for the job?" "Yes." "He's going to the Drum." Okay. So, I get to the Drum, and there's a story here. Because I told you that frequently on the submarine I was the first exposure to a lot of people, as far as being next to a black person, okay. So, I'm coming here with his bias towards blacks, and I'm going to be his engineer, which is a very important job. We leave port, I report to the ship overseas. We immediately go in what's referred to as a Spec Op. That's secret missions that we did in the Cold War that you can't talk about. And you don't communicate, you're not allowed to communicate, okay, at all unless there's a disaster and you have an accident, okay. Then you have to abort your mission. So, we're underway, and the person I relieved did a terrible job, and they failed an inspection. So, the captain's got this stigma over him. And this black guy now is supposed to be able to clean it up. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, he has daily meetings with me. By the way this captain, besides the racist thing, he was so impersonal that the officers avoided him. In a wardroom, one of your favorite times of the day is to eat the meal together and socialize. In that wardroom, the captain and the oncoming, two oncoming watch officers, ate dinner together. No other officers ate dinner with them in the wardroom. So, besides this racial baggage, he's got other issues. So, he has me go to his state room every night, and we have about three hour meetings. And he gives me this list of things to do--typically thirty, forty, fifty things to do, okay. He would get up the next morning and summon me. And I'd get out of the state room about maybe ten o'clock. And then whoever worked for me that was on watch at the time, or who was going to come on watch at midnight--I would parcel out some of these things, okay. And, but I wouldn't give all the assignments out. So, he would summon me every morning about nine o'clock--eight or nine o'clock. We'd go over this list, and then he'd tear into me when I would not be able to tell him that half the list had been accomplished, okay. It went like that for two weeks. It went like that for two weeks and he told me, he says, "Engineer, I cannot deal with you." He says, "If I had the power, I would surface this submarine and take you back to port and fire you." Okay.$$This is your commanding--$$This is my commanding officer, okay. So, there's more to this.

David James

Army Air Corps officer and attorney Lt. David F. James was born on November 17, 1923 in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1941, after graduating from Lane Tech High School in Chicago, James attended Loyola University. During his freshman year in 1942, James entered the U.S. Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Training Program in Tuskegee, Alabama. Upon arrival at Tuskegee Air Field, James was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group where he trained to fly single seat fighter planes.

From 1944 to 1945, James flew combat missions with the 332nd Fighter Group over Germany as well as other countries in Eastern Europe during World War II. In 1946, James completed his tour of duty with the Army Air Force and re-enrolled at Loyola University. Later, in 1949, James graduated from Loyola University with his B.A. degree. James was hired by business machine manufacturer Burroughs Corporation in 1950 and became the company’s first African American salesman. In 1956, James found a job with the University of Chicago before he was appointed as a deputy director with the State of Illinois in 1961. While there, part of his responsibilities involved working on the “War on Poverty.” James then graduated from DePaul University College of Law with his J.D. degree in 1963. James was hired by the American Bar Association (ABA) in 1967 and became the first African American attorney to be hired by that organization. He worked at the ABA until 1984.

In 1967, James became the first African American homeowner in Winnetka, Illinois. Soon after moving to Winnetka, James became involved in groups that were forming on the North Shore to promote better race relations and open housing. In 1967, James and his wife, Mary, established Together We Influence Growth (TWIG) Day Camp that brings together children from South Side neighborhoods and children from the North Shore. In 1972, James helped found the North Shore Interfaith Housing Council (now the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs), which is organized to fight housing discrimination. In the late 1980s, James was appointed as an administrative law judge for the U.S. Department of Labor. In 1990, James went into private practice as an attorney and remained there until 2000. In 2009, James, along with more than one hundred other Tuskegee Airmen, attended the Inauguration Ceremony of President Barack Obama.

Army Air Corps Officer Lt. David F. James was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 21, 2013.

James passed away on July 23, 2016.

Accession Number

A2013.201

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/21/2013

Last Name

James

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

F.

Organizations
Schools

De Paul University School of Law

Loyola University Chicago

Lane Technical College Prep High School

McCosh Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

JAM06

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Fon Du Lac, Wisconsin

Favorite Quote

Don't look back. Someone might be gaining on you.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

11/17/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Tempura Fried Calamari

Death Date

7/23/2016

Short Description

Military officer and lawyer David James (1923 - 2016 ) served as a Tuskegee Airman with the 332nd Fighter Group. In 1967, James was employed as the first African American attorney at the American Bar Association.

Employment

Alterman Drug Store

Burroughs

University of Chicago

State of Illinois

American Bar Association (ABA)

Department of Labor

Delete

Favorite Color

Light Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:2610,27:2906,32:3424,40:7272,146:7864,160:12822,250:58738,636:86654,845:97180,941:158841,1470:159444,1480:169796,1627:170160,1632:173709,1679:178360,1712$0,0:183354,1614:183789,1620:257120,2251
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David James' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David James lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David James talks about his mother's education and career as a teacher in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David James talks about his mother's personality and his maternal grandfather's business in St. Louis

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David James talks about his maternal family's migration from New Orleans, Louisiana to St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David James talks about his mother's upbringing in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David James talks about his maternal grandmother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David James talks about his maternal grandparents marrying in St. Louis, and his grandmother's death

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David James discusses his maternal family's Creole heritage

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David James talks about his mother's personality and her sheltered upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David James talks about his father's personality and his goals and ambitions

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David James talks about his siblings' education and his own likeness to his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David James talks about his father's Native American heritage

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David James describes his earliest childhood memories in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David James talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David James talks about the high achievers in his neighborhood of West Woodlawn in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David James talks about the high achievers in his neighborhood of West Woodlawn in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David James talks about the smells of growing up in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David James describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David James talks about his family's mealtimes together and attending Holy Cross Catholic Church in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David James describes his experience in elementary school, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David James describes his experience in elementary school, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David James describes his decision to attend Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David James describes his experience in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David James describes his commute to high school and his extracurricular activities in school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - David James talks about his high school friend, Jim Onitas, and his decision to attend Loyola University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David James talks about becoming interested in aviation while he was in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David James talks about the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David James talks about African Americans training for and serving in World War II, in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David James talks about being drafted into World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David James talks about his trip from Chicago, Illinois to Tuskegee Airfield in Alabama, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David James talks about his trip from Chicago, Illinois to Tuskegee Airfield in Alabama, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David James describes his experience at basic training at Tuskegee Airfield in Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - David James talks about his pilot training with Alfred "Chief" Anderson

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David James talks about Alfred "Chief" Anderson, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's visit to Tuskegee Airfield

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David James talks about his first solo flight and reflects upon flight training school

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David James talks about relying on instrumentation in flying planes

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David James talks about Albert Stewart, the first African American admitted to the U.S. Navy's Officer Training Program

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David James talks about race relations stationed at Tuskegee Airfield in Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David James talks about becoming a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army and serving in Europe with the 15th Air Force

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David James talks about the fighter planes he flew during his assignment in Europe with the 15th Air Force

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - David James talks about the engineering of the fighter planes flown during World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - David James talks about the end of World War II in 1945, and the end of his tour in 1946

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - David James talks about returning to Loyola University, graduating in 1946, and the Great Migration during the 1940s

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David James talks about meeting his wife in 1946

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David James talks about his wife and their involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David James talks about being hired as the first African American salesperson at Burroughs Corporation

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David James talks about working at the University College at the University of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David James talks about his role as the Minority Representative of the State of Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David James talks about the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King's visit to Chicago in 1964, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - David James talks about the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King's visit to Chicago in 1964, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - David James talks about becoming the first African American attorney to work at the American Bar Association and to purchase a home in Winnetka, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - David James talks about his decision to move to Winnetka, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - David James talks about his children transitioning into their new schools in Winnetka, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - David James talks about his and his wife's involvement in community activities in the North Shore area of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - David James talks about his service as an administrative law judge for the Department of Labor, and his private law practice

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - David James talks about attending President Obama's inauguration with the Tuskegee Airmen, the "Dodo Club" and his high school alumni meetings

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - David James talks about his children's education and their careers

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - David James talks about his grandchildren

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - David James reflects upon his legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - David James reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - David James talks about his high school history teacher, Dr. Walner

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - David James describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$7

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
David James talks about Alfred "Chief" Anderson, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's visit to Tuskegee Airfield
David James talks about his and his wife's involvement in community activities in the North Shore area of Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
Okay. Mr. James, you were just talking about [Alfred] "Chief" Anderson before our break. I asked you what you thought about him, you know, as a person and an instructor of, whatever he was.$$He was partly responsible for the fact that the Tuskegee Airmen--. He was a guy--there was a--Tuskegee had a civil, civilian aide program. And he taught there. And a very distinguished white lady visited Tuskegee. Her name was Eleanor Roosevelt.$$President [Franklin D.] Roosevelt's wife, right?$$Yes.$$Thank you.$$And she had heard the legend that African Americans weren't intelligent enough to fly. And she heard about this experiment that Tuskegee. No, wait a minute. The general was telling me that. She asked somebody, "Why aren't there African American pilots?" "Oh, no, they can't. They're too dumb. They're not, they don't have any intelligence to fly." But she had read about this civilian air program at Tuskegee. She was a contributor. "This doesn't make sense." So, being Eleanor, she arranged to go to Tuskegee Air and see what this program was all about. And though--she asked Chief Anderson, "Would you take me up?" (laughter) And she did, and he did. And the rest, of course, is history. You know, she told Franklin, you know, (laughter) of all the tricks these guys are trying to tell me--of all the myths I had to--I just--you know--(laughter). And it became (unclear).$$Well, thanks for telling me that story and confirming it, because sometimes people think those are just legends.$$No, this is a fact. That's Eleanor.$$And I think during the pause you also said that Chief Anderson trained more pilots--$$Right.$$At Tuskegee.$$Than any other person, yeah, responsible for it.$And your wife [Mary Gallaway], both of you apparently became very active, maybe in part because she was radicalized before, in North Shore community activities. One in particular was TWIG, "Together We Influence Growth." And I'll talk about another one in a little bit. But what was that about, TWIG? Was it a day camp or?$$It was a day camp. But more than that, my kids were--having been dropped among all of this privilege, wondered about, "What about my kid? What about my friends back on Indiana Avenue? What about them? You know, they don't have, you know, this." And so, we invited--we got together a group of kids through the public school system in Winnetka [Illinois], using their facilities. Eventually, I began a summer camp where we invited children from the south side to a day camp--an eight week day camp where they--and it has its own history. But it has survived.$$It still exists today?$$Oh, we have a--we had a problem getting suburban campers initially when we started out. This year we had 125 campers, probably 75 white, and the rest of them from the city. Unfortunately, it's become--fortunately--we used to draw from the various public housing projects. And now, the base is in the Jackson Park Highlands. (laughter) It's become a middle class thing, just about.$$And I think you were talking about Dr. [Martin Luther] King before, speaking at the Village Green. Was that Winnetka's? Where was the Village Green when he spoke?$$Oh yeah, in Winnetka, right.$$It was back in the mid-60s [1960s]?$$Uh huh.$$Okay. And there was another organization that you helped found, the North Shore Inter-Faith Housing Council. What was that?$$Well, the whole purpose was to attract, open up, the communities on the North Shore to people of color. And it's still going. And I got into all kinds of activities that--making housing opportunities available to people who would not otherwise have that opportunity.$$And that's in the North Shore?$$It's based in Winnetka.$$Right.$$Right.$$But in terms of sort of trying to help African American or other folks of diverse backgrounds--you're talking about the North Shore--$$Right.$$--and integration?$$Right. Opening up the communities and making them welcoming.$$Excellent.

David Brown

Enlisted Soldier David W. Brown was born on August 26, 1920 in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1943, four years after completing high school, and three days after he and his wife were married, Brown was drafted into the United States Army.

In 1944, Brown was deployed during World War II with the 490th Port Battalion, 226 Port Company European Theater, where he served as a technician 4th Grade. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Brown landed on the shores of Utah Beach alongside 23,000 other men as allied forces stormed the beaches at Normandy. The following year, while still serving in Europe, he would travel to England, France and Belgium. In December of 1945, Brown received an Honorable Discharge from the United States Army. Following the end of the War, he returned to the United States and was discharged from the military in a ceremony at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Brown then traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, where he attended Maplewood Refrigeration, a vocational school. After completing training there in 1948, Brown worked as a refrigeration engineer. He also attended the Carrier Corporation, another vocational institute in Syracuse, New York, where he received further schooling in AC engineering. Brown went on to work as a refrigeration and air conditioning engineer at Beaumont Medical and System Air. He then established his own firm, Brown Industrial Corporation.

Brown was the recipient of many awards and honors. In 2004, he was the featured veteran in Studs Terkel’s production The Good War, showcased in Skokie, Illinois. Then, in 2009, after contributing to the History Channel’s program A Distant Shore: African Americans of D-Day, Brown was awarded an Emmy plaque from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 2010, during a ceremony in Northbrook, Illinois, he was awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor medal, the highest decoration bestowed on those who have achieved remarkable deeds for France.

Brown passed away on June 13, 2015 at age 94.

Accession Number

A2013.193

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/20/2013

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

W.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Manassas High School

Maplewood School of Refigeration

Carrier Corporation

Search Occupation Category
First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

BRO57

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/26/1920

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Northbrook

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Death Date

6/13/2015

Short Description

Soldier David Brown (1920 - 2015 ) served in the United States Army during World War II, and participated in the Normandy landings on D-Day.

Employment

Hammel Refrigeration

Central Refrigeration

Beaumont Medical

System Air

Brown Industrial Corporation

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:80588,1038:93775,1269:97300,1458:175051,2234:182520,2419:228500,2983:231900,3181:282762,3793:288782,3892:297520,4002$0,0:2550,12:3830,31:4150,36:5750,62:31460,433:31780,438:32100,447:41176,496:41616,502:47836,585:50802,610:55180,677:83196,1011:91300,1101:94410,1232:110696,1418:115470,1464:122610,1573:210680,2566:222660,2696
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Brown lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Brown discusses his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Brown discusses his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about how his parents met and married, their life in Memphis, Tennessee, and his mother's electrical and plumbing skills

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Brown describes his childhood home in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Brown describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Brown describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David Brown describes Christmas holidays with his family during the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - David Brown describes the neighborhood where he grew up in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - David Brown describes his experience in elementary school and high school in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - David Brown talks about his history and chemistry classes in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Brown talks about his experience in church as a child, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Brown talks about his experience in church as a child, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Brown talks about his experience in elementary school and his desire to become an engineer

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Brown talks about building radios and a doorbell as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about listening to BBC radio's newscast about World War II, and his interest in airplanes

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Brown talks about growing up during the Great Depression, and losing the money that he had invested in a program in grade school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Brown talks about his in high school and his friends who volunteered for military service

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David Brown talks about working at an engineering store after graduating from high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David Brown talks about being drafted into World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - David Brown talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Brown talks about the events that led him to date his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Brown talks about dating his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Brown talks about growing up during segregation, and saving to buy a car

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Brown describes how he and his brother, Grover, were drafted into World War II, and their trip to Fort Benning, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about leaving home for the draft and being assigned to boot camp in Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Brown talks about his experience at Camp Harahan, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Brown talks about his altercation with the first sergeant at Camp Harahan, Louisiana, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - David Brown talks about his altercation with the first sergeant at Camp Harahan, Louisiana, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - David Brown talks about his transfer to Newport News, Virginia in August of 1943

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Brown talks about his reassignment to the U.S. Navy and his involvement with an espionage interception mission

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Brown talks about being assigned to the Allied invasion of Normandy, France in 1944 during World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David Brown describes the events that led up to his involvement in the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David Brown describes the events that led up to his involvement in the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David Brown describes the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David Brown describes the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David Brown reflects upon the deaths of American soldiers during the invasion of Normandy in June, 1944, during World War II

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David Brown describes his experience after landing on Utah Beach, Normandy in June, 1944 during World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David Brown describes his experience after landing on Utah Beach, Normandy in June, 1944 during World War II, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David Brown talks about the roles of the soldiers on Utah Beach, Normandy in June, 1944 during World War II

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David Brown talks about leaving Utah Beach, Normandy, France and being reassigned to Rouen, France in November of 1944

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about the Battle of the Bulge and how German soldiers killed American soldiers and masqueraded as American troops

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David Brown discusses two rare instances of racial discrimination while he was a soldier at Utah Beach, Normandy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - David Brown talks about his assignment to Rouen, France

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - David Brown discusses his experience in Rouen, France, as the German offense mounted

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - David Brown talks about the killing of German intruders at his post at Rouen, France during the Battle of the Bulge

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - David Brown talks about being promoted to Technician Fourth Grade and other black officers whom he served with

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - David Brown talks about the soldiers who died on Utah Beach, Normandy in June of 1944

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - David Brown talks about the close-knit environment of the troops he served with in World War II

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about being assigned to special duty in Rouen and an American soldier killing an anti-Semitic German

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - David Brown talks about capturing a German ship in Cherbourg, France

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - David Brown talks about being stationed in Cherbourg, France, after World War II

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - David Brown talks about his transition out of Europe after World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - David Brown talks about his transition out of Europe after World War II, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - David Brown describes his trip from Belgium to New York in December, 1945

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - David Brown talks about leaving the U.S. Army in January of 1946, his journey home to Memphis, and the reception from his family

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - David Brown talks about encountering racial discrimination as a World War II veteran in America, and his decision to attend trade school

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - David Brown describes his experience in trade school

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - David Brown talks about his first job assignment and racial discrimination

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about his brother's return from World War II and his career in the railroad and in printing

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - David Brown talks about his children, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - David Brown talks about his children, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - David Brown talks about his efforts in the union for rights for African Americans in the 1940s

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - David Brown reflects upon the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Presidents John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - David Brown reflects upon the Vietnam War and the politics of war and veterans' services

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - David Brown reflects about being recognized as an African American soldier in World War II and D-Day, and the movie industry's portrayal of the war

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - David Brown reflects upon receiving the Legion of Honor Award, and the difference between his treatment in Europe and in the U.S.

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - David Brown reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - David Brown shares his message to future generations

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - David Brown gives a message to the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - David Brown reflects upon racial prejudices in the United States and segregation in the U.S. Army during World War II

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - David Brown describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
David Brown describes the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II, pt. 1
David Brown talks about the roles of the soldiers on Utah Beach, Normandy in June, 1944 during World War II
Transcript
Tuesday [June 6, 1944] morning, some guy say, "Hey Sarge, they're bombing the beach." "You're crazy, they're not bombing the beach." And I wake up, they were bombing the beach; from the right to the left, from the right to the left, from right to left--all Tuesday morning. So as the daylight begin to appear over France, all the ships that go in the same direction, everybody--are stopping at disorganized rotation; some goin' east, some goin' west, some goin' north, some goin' south. And we were going north; we kept goin' north. Now the waves begin to settle down; it's still choppy. Now I notice up ahead of us was a striped war ship; he was shining (unclear) ashore. I didn't pay attention where these waves--where shell was falling, but I notice we have these--shell--leave these guns on this war ship; these flame burners, go down and hit the water level. I'm thinkin' 'I hope we don't get too close to this war ship 'cause if that flame hit these shells, we are suckin' duck.' As we got mid-ship, he made a U-turn to the right, in his U-turnin', I turned my head to the left and my chin is still fastened tight against these ammunition, and I spotted that building that you see now in History Channel, two-story building that's on the top of that hill that you see on History Channel, and the gunfire was goin' galore. It was no firing from where we were, but you could hear it on the beach over there. It was Omaha Beach. But we weren't going there, we were goin' back to Utah Beach so we kept goin' south now. As the daylight approaches, I saw that (unclear) stickin' out in the channel like a sore thumb, and along--parallel this was these landing craft that goin' beside of 'em--these two-stage landing craft, and they was already goin' on to Utah Beach unloadin' their vehicles, the tanks and their troops. They're goin' onto the beach through the--through this opening that was in the beach head. Well, there was no gun firing going across; true, we're goin' across at a fast pace but they weren't runnin', 'cause when you're sure--we were pretty sure they were goin' right parallel beside of it and he go right through there and there was nobody on that beach, and this went on all morning. At eight o' clock, we was supposed to go ashore, and we kept goin'--move up a little bit, and we move up a little bit and stop and move up a little bit and stop. All at once, the sailor says, "Go short." So we stop, and there was a whole bunch of ships in front of us--landing craft rather. Then all at once, four landing crafts blew up in front of us; we never did find out who it was because in World War II, information didn't pass like they do today; if you saw it, then you just kept it to yourself. So we didn't bother about it; we kept waiting, kept waiting, so finally our sailor come along and says, "The beach master step on a landing craft because the tide was going out and the beach master didn't want the landing craft stuck three or 400 feet from the beach 'cause the land vehicles gets bogged down in this soft sand unloading these landing crafts and when tide comes back in, they'd be under the water, so they didn't that; they'd stop us that far; they're waitin' for the tide to come back in. Same time--every once in a--maybe five minutes, a shell would come out from the beach. This was a (unclear) box; a gun was fired from a (unclear) box--a German (unclear) box. So we couldn't find him but the Navy was lookin' for it. Navy finally find this gun in the gun slot and it kept firing at this pure box. As it got to five shots--'cause we could see this fireman's shell comin' from this Navy ship hit this pure box and bouncin' off his pure box just like a tennis ball. Now we figure we're in bad trouble 'cause if that shell don't penetrate that (unclear) box, we in trouble buddy. It was shelling down the (unclear)--the beach; it wasn't shelling out to the water, just straight down the beach, which we gotta cross. And this went on all day long.$So the, the next day comes; is that when you get to leave, or what happened?$$You never get no relief. You're in this foxhole and we were waitin'--our job is--everybody has a job; the one job everybody has, even the five on this aircraft--everybody following this aircraft, that's where the air raid is. Well your job is--our job is to unload these seagoing vessels. Well they now, they can't come any closer; they're four or 500 feet from the shore; only the landing crafts come ashore. The beach master they're the traffic jam--traffic cops; all landing crafts come to the shore first; they get unloaded first. The quartermasters, this is their job. (Unclear) don't do this; quartermasters drive their vehicles on these landing crafts, unloads it, all these supplies on these landing craft, drive 'em in shore to the fuel dumps, ammunition dump, to the water dumps. A dump is a supply area, in the Army, they call it a dump. But you got fuel rations, you put on (unclear) and as your front line needs this, front line have their own people comin' to these dumps to get what they need and go back to feed 'em. Now Americans think the minority soldiers are there to feed the Caucasian soldiers. I straightened that out--a writer down in Bloomington [Indiana] about this. It sounded good to the writer. I tore it out of his book; I say "You got it all wrong; I was there, you wasn't." "Well this makes you look--" "I'm not here to make anything to you look good; I'm the one that suffered the consequence over there."$$So, so what was the correct--what did you correct him about? I'm unclear about that.$$He had on his book "the minority soldiers' job was to furnish supplies to Caucasian soldiers." That's not true. The quartermaster was the supply area, and you got--black soldiers was in the quartermasters, white soldiers was in quartermaster--foreman (ph.). And as the front lines told you who was your infantry, they needed guns or they need food, they need ammunition, they need fuel, the quartermaster delivered it to them--to that dump. Whether they're white or black, the delivered to 'em. Then the infantry soldier had their own people come to their particular dump to pick it up and take it to the front lines. Just as simple as you own a business; you go to this company over here to pick up your supply of goods that you need. No, he's not working for you; you go to him to get it. That's the way that went; the Army was set up just like a business. So that's why I had to take it out of his book.$$Okay. So how long were you on Utah Beach [Normandy, France]?$$Five months.$$Five months?$$Five months--from June until November [1944]; Thanksgiving Day.$$Okay.

Lenon Lathan

Montford Point Marine Lenon Lathan was born on July 19, 1926 in Sturgis, Mississippi. He was the tenth oldest twin of three sets of twins and fifteen other siblings born of Oscar Lathan and Mary Frazier. Lathan grew up in Sturgis and attended Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School in Mobile, Alabama where he played baseball and basketball as a young man. Lathan later enrolled in continuing education classes and studied Spanish at the City Colleges of Chicago. He is also a graduate of Washburn Trade School in Chicago where he later worked as a union pipefitter.

Lathan enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in Starkville, Mississippi in September of 1944 and as a private at DHIRS, Jackson, Mississippi. He trained at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina with the 43rd Marine Depot Company for one year and then was promoted to private first class (PFC) with the 25th Marching Depot Company. Lathan deployed to the Pacific Theater during World War II on board the USS DOROTHEA. He served under Second Lieutenant Kenneth I. Tuttle at Guam, Marianas Islands. In addition, he served aboard the USS GENERAL W.C. MITCHELL at Guam, Marianas Island. Lathan received an Honorable Discharge in 1948. In 1987, he retired from Local Union #597 Chicago Pipe Fitters and became an entrepreneur opening a bar and lounge on 12th Street & Wabash Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.

Lathan is a member of Grant Memorial A.M.E. Church, and has traveled to forty-eight of the fifty states and has visited five continents. As a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, the “Honor Flight Chicago” selected him to join other veterans on a trip to Washington, D.C. to see the WWII Memorial built in their honor.

Lathan was married to Mildred Barron for nearly fifty years before her passing in 1996. They had nine children, two of which preceded their mother in death. Together with his wife, Lathan raised his children in Chicago’s Lincoln Park area; and all seven children either graduated from private high schools or universities. He also has twelve grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Lathan passed away on January 27, 2018.

Montford Point Marine Lenon Lathan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 20, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.191

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/20/2013

Last Name

Lathan

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Schools

Liberty Hill

Gulfside High School

Dunbar

Washburne Trade School

Wilbur Wright College

Loop Junior College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Lenon

Birth City, State, Country

Sturgis

HM ID

LAT05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Good gosh.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

7/19/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish, Beef, Pork, Salad

Death Date

1/27/2018

Short Description

Montford pointe marine Lenon Lathan (1926 - 2018 ) served in the Pacific Theater during World War II with the 243rd Marine Depot Company and the 25th Marching Depot Company.

Employment

Campbell Soup

U.S. Steel

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:3456,39:4509,95:9986,181:20565,366:30000,479:35391,511:94260,1220:103330,1363:133724,1590:134472,1605:136172,1694:150328,1831:159130,1947$0,0:2540,24:4070,47:14903,212:24638,337:25220,344:48330,606:50031,641:52380,707:74354,896:74956,905:75300,910:79488,949:84108,1050:91278,1087:97149,1162:100475,1209:106990,1313:116430,1440:127925,1546:128375,1554:159080,1963
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lenon Lathan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lenon Lathan lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lenon Lathan describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lenon Lathan describes his visits to his maternal grandparents' home

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lenon Lathan describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lenon Lathan talks about his parents' marriage and his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lenon Lathan describes his childhood home and his family's farm

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lenon Lathan describes his childhood neighborhood in Sturgis, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lenon Lathan talks about his relationship with his mother, and what he learned from his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lenon Lathan talks about attending school in Sturgis, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lenon Lathan talks about going to church at Liberty Hill Methodist Church in Sturgis, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Lenon Lathan talks about his school teachers at Liberty Hill Methodist Church in Sturgis, Mississippi, and his experience in elementary school

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Lenon Lathan talks about attending school on the Gulf Coast and in Mobile, Alabama, and joining the military

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Lenon Lathan talks about his relationship with his older brother, John Lathan

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Lenon Lathan describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Lenon Lathan describes the dynamics between his twin siblings, and between him and his twin brother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lenon Lathan talks about his older sister, Ceola Lathan

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lenon Lathan talks about the racial climate in the town of Sturgis, Mississippi, and his unpleasant experience at one of the town's stores

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lenon Lathan talks about the nesting habits of chickens and turkey

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lenon Lathan talks about his family's traditions, and playing at home with his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lenon Lathan talks about his childhood desire to visit big cities in the U.S.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lenon Lathan talks about experiencing segregation as a child in Sturgis, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lenon Lathan describes his experience in high school in Waveland, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lenon Lathan talks about Waveland, Mississippi, and his school trips to New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lenon Lathan talks about his involvement in sports and drama in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lenon Lathan talks about attending high school in Mobile, Alabama and working at a welding shipyard

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Lenon Lathan talks about being drafted into the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Lenon Lathan describes his initial experience in the U.S. Marines

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lenon Lathan talks about African American Marines at Montford Point, North Carolina in the early 1940s

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lenon Lathan describes his experience at boot camp with the U.S. Marines at Montford Point, North Carolina in the early 1940s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lenon Lathan describes his training at boot camp with the U.S. Marines at Montford Point, North Carolina in the early 1940s

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lenon Lathan talks about meeting his wife and getting married

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lenon Lathan talks about his U.S. Marine Corps advanced training in San Diego, California, and his assignment to Guam

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lenon Lathan describes his assignment with the 54th Marine Battalion in Guam, and his thoughts on war

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lenon Lathan talks about leaving the U.S. Marines, working at a steel mill, and his fellow platoon members

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lenon Lathan talks about his children

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lenon Lathan talks about working at Campbell's Soup, and going to pipefitting school

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Lenon Lathan talks about his life and employment after leaving the U.S. Marines in 1948

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lenon Lathan talks about his experience at Montford Point, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lenon Lathan talks about his experience at Montford Point, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lenon Lathan talks about experiencing discrimination at Montford Point, North Carolina, and training with dynamite bombs

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lenon Lathan talks about becoming a licensed pipefitter in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lenon Lathan talks about buying a home in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lenon Lathan talks about the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John F. Kennedy, and his thoughts about the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lenon Lathan describes his family's life in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lenon Lathan describes his children's schooling in Chicago, Illinois, and his insistence on sending them to private schools

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lenon Lathan talks about his children's employment

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Lenon Lathan talks about his travels after his retirement

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Lenon Lathan talks about receiving the Gold Congressional Medal of Honor as a Montford Point Marine

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lenon Lathan talks about running a cocktail lounge for six years

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lenon Lathan reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lenon Lathan talks about living at the Cabrini-Green public housing project in Chicago, Illinois, in the 1950s and buying a home on the North Side

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lenon Lathan shares his message to today's youth

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lenon Lathan describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, and reflects upon the election of President Barack Obama

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lenon Lathan shares how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lenon Lathan describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

6$11

DATitle
Lenon Lathan talks about experiencing segregation as a child in Sturgis, Mississippi
Lenon Lathan talks about receiving the Gold Congressional Medal of Honor as a Montford Point Marine
Transcript
So going back to the fact that you and your brothers [Lathan's older brother, John Lathan] had talked about wanting to leave your hometown [Sturgis, Mississippi], tell me why it is that you wanted to leave?$$Because of the segregation. And I, I was just telling him and he said and what do you wanna be? I said I wanna be a Pullman porter, porter on the train. I would just ride and ride until I got to a city that I liked, and I'd just get off there and that's where I would stay. That's what I would do. That was my dream.$$And so you say you wanted to leave because of the segregation, but do you have another story about what was bad about segregation, as far as you're concerned?$$Well, everything. I remember one day my brother and I, we lived about a mile out of the village, and my brother and I were walking along the, the, the highway, and this white man stopped in his car. My brother said, "Hey." And he stopped and he backed all the way back to where we were. And he said, "I'm gonna have to take him with me the way you hollerin'." And so he, my brother, he said get in. So he got in and I went to get in too and he said (unclear)--I went to go get in the car too, so he said, "Will you make sure that he never holler at another white man?" And I said "Yes, sir." And then we walked in the woods all the way home.$$Okay.$$And he said, he said, "I'm gonna let him go but would you see that he never holler at another white man?" And I just said, "Yes, sir" and walked away, walked back through the woods home again, scared to walk on the highway.$$So a lot of your years you were just afraid of white people, is that correct?$$Yes. And then my brother always said, he said when I left to go to high school we promised--I promised if I'd ever leave I was gonna take him with me. Then he said--he tells me that now. He--like he said, "You left me. I still owe you one. You left me there." (Laughter).$$Okay (laughter).$So now let's talk about some of the awards for being a Montford Point Marine [first African Americans to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps].$$Well, I got the Gold Congressional Medal of Honor--$$Well, tell me about that. How did you first hear about it?$$Well, I heard about it--my son-in-law's cousin worked for the Marine Corps. And it hasn't been that long ago. And she was telling us about it. And so my kids got so excited you would think they were getting the medal, not me.$$And so, I mean, were, were you excited?$$Well, they, they, they won me over. Yes, I got excited.$$What were your thoughts about it? Did you think well it's about time or did you think you'd never see an award for--$$No, I never thought I'd get the award. No, I never felt that 'cause I, I had never thought about it, not really. I just knew it wasn't gonna happen to me.$$Okay. Okay and so have you--is--was that the only time that you were given an award, the Congressional Medal? Did you go to Washington [District of Columbia] for something else?$$I went to Washington on the--as a flight--it's called Flight Chicago. It's an honor, called the Honor Flight. I went to Washington, D.C. for a day.$$Okay and what was that like?$$That was really exciting. So I had lots of relatives live around the Washington area. The first thing they told us when we got on the plane, they'll be calling your folks telling them to meet you nowhere (laughter). That kind of killed me then (unclear). So I was there a whole day and I had a, I had a staff sergeant to push me around in a wheelchair. All--every time I got off a bus he was there with the wheelchair to push me where I wanted to go. We saw, we saw most of the interesting things to see in Washington, really. We didn't see everything but we saw most of it. And one place I really was excited--was the Smithsonian and the [National] Air and Space Museum. Those two, I would love to go back and spend more time there.

Brig. Gen. Arnold Gordon-Bray

U.S. Army Brigadier General Arnold N. Gordon-Bray was born in Columbia, South Carolina. His parents were Felix Gordon and Martha McNeil, and his stepfather was Isiah Bray. He graduated from Waynesville High School in Waynesville, Missouri in 1973. Gordon-Bray became interested in pursuing a military career when his brother, Michael, began to collect information about the United States Army. Gordon-Bray enrolled at Central Missouri State University (now the University of Central Missouri) in the fall of 1973 as an art major where he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He graduated from Central Missouri State University with his B.S. degree in art in 1978. Gordon-Bray’s military education includes the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Combined Arms Services and Staff College the, the Naval War College, and numerous other military schools.

Gordon-Bray became chief of the training division at Joint Special Operations command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 1990. In 1996, he was named commander of the 1st Battalion of the 508th Airborne Combat Team in Vicenza, Italy. In 1999, he graduated from the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama with his M.A. degree in military strategic studies; and, in 2001, Gordon-Bray graduated with his M.A. degree in operations management and supervision from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He then assumed command of the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division, known as the “Falcon Brigade.” He led the Falcon Brigade during the early months of the Iraq War in 2003, and then served a second tour of duty in Iraq from 2006 to 2007 as the principal advisor to the Iraqi Ground Force Commander. During 2007, Gordon-Bray became deputy commanding general of the United States Army Cadet Command in Fort Monroe, Virginia. In 2011, Gordon-Bray became deputy director of operations for the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM). He then retired in November of 2012 and then started his own consulting firm, ANGB Consulting, in Fayetteville, North Carolina in January of 2013.

Gordon-Bray military honors include the Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Bronze Star, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Brigadier General Arnold N. Gordon-Bray was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 11, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.224

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/11/2013

Last Name

Gordon-Bray

Maker Category
Middle Name

N.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

U.S. Naval War College

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Air War College

University of Central Missouri

Central Michigan University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Arnold

Birth City, State, Country

Columbia

HM ID

GOR05

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Bring your 'A' game.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

6/14/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Raleigh

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hot Dogs, Pork, Beans

Short Description

Brigadier general Brig. Gen. Arnold Gordon-Bray (1955 - ) , one of the top-ranking African American generals in the United States Army, held several commands during a thirty-four-year career, including leadership of the 82nd Airborne Division’s Falcon Brigade during the Iraq War.

Favorite Color

Black

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Arnold Gordon-Bray's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his name

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his mother's education and her growing up in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about chasing chickens on his grandmother's farm in Ridgewood, South Carolina, and how this helped him in ranger school

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his maternal family's education and service in the armed forces

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his relationship with his father, Felix Gordon, and his death in 2010

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his parental family's presence in Edgefield, South Carolina, and their migration to the north

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his father's service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and African Americans not being recognized for their service

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about spending time with his father's family

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about how his parents met and married, his father's education, and the Gordon family's reputation for their good looks

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his parents living in and around Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray discusses his height, height requirements in the U.S. armed forces, and why he was disqualified as an aviator by the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his siblings and his childhood household

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about why he never went to kindergarten, winning an art contest in the first grade, and his mother's emphasis on education

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes Christmas at his home while growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray recalls one particular Christmas from his childhood, and his parents' efforts to make Christmas special for the family

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes how his childhood Christmas experiences have influenced his Christmas traditions as an adult

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his familiarity with the city of Columbia, South Carolina, and how his parents were able to buy a home there

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his childhood neighborhood in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his first grade drawing that won first place in an art contest

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his interest in art, and reflects upon what it means to be an artist

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his art supplies, and having to think outside the box

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his experience in elementary school, and transitioning into an integrated school system in 1966

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about growing up under segregation in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience in the integrated school system in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about being stereotyped in college

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his parents getting a divorce in 1966, and describes his family's tensions at the time

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his mother remarrying, and his social experience in middle school

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about the positive influence of his friend, Kenny Davis, in middle school

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience at C.A. Johnson High School in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about attending Columbia High School in his junior year

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks his step-father and brother joining the Vietnam War, and his initial interest in joining the military

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about reading Malcolm X's autobiography while he was in high school

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray recalls the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray discusses the influence and impact of the civil rights era while he was growing up in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about how Malcolm X's autobiography impacted his political thoughts

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his brother serving in a segregated Army in the Vietnam War, and his radical political leanings when he returned

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his family moving to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and resuming his interest in playing basketball

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about the encouragement that he received from his step-father, Isiah Bray

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his step-father's influence on him deciding to go to college

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about majoring in art, joining the ROTC, and playing on the basketball team at the University of Central Missouri

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about playing league basketball after graduating from the University of Central Missouri, and maturing as a player

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his fan club while he was on the basketball team at the University of Central Missouri

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about the influence of his basketball coach, Tom Smith, from the University of Central Missouri

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience at ROTC camp in Fort Riley, Kansas and his goals after graduating from college

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his decision to focus on his military career and sacrifice his interest in pursuing basketball in the U.S. Army

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience at Fort Jackson, South Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his assignment to a tour in Korea, and his experience there

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience on tour in Korea

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his experience running into a mine field on tour in Korea

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience in advanced training at Fort Benning, Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about how he met his wife

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray explains why he was disqualified from becoming a U.S. Army aviator, and describes his challenges at ranger school

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his medical challenges while at ranger school, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his medical challenges while at ranger school, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about Roscoe Robinson, Jr. and Julius Becton

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his assignment to the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his experience as a company commander in the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his assignment as company commander of the headquarters company

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his assignment as the operations officer of the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience in Somalia with the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his service following the plane crash over Gander, Newfoundland in 1985, which killed 248 American soldiers, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his service following the plane crash over Gander, Newfoundland in 1985, which killed 248 American soldiers, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his involvement in a joint operation training with the U.S. Marines in the Caribbean

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about his selection as aide to the corps commander in 1986

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience as the aide-de-camp to General James J. Lindsay, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience as the aide-de-camp to General James J. Lindsay, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Arnold Gordon-Bray describes his experience as the aide-de-camp to General James J. Lindsay, pt. 3

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Arnold Gordon-Bray talks about serving as the aide-de-camp to General John Foss, and his assignment to the 82nd Airborne Division